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Looking Back to Move Forward

February 25th, 2023
Boston University


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About the Conference

PR Advanced is proud to host its 16th Annual District Conference: “Looking Back to Move Forward.” Join us on Saturday, February 25, 2023, to experience a blast from the past. The last three years have brought about a surge in our profession: from crisis communication with the pandemic to international communications, DEI communications and employee engagement as people work remote-hybrid. Despite the ever-changing environment, the fundamentals of communication – clear objectives, strong strategy, and a good understanding of audiences – remain true. This conference will feature an opening reception; six breakout sessions on topics including but not limited to corporate social responsibility, media relations, and in-house versus agency; two keynote speakers from the growing fields of healthcare and technology; networking opportunities; and a career fair. Like the industry professionals before us, we don’t know what the future holds. Thus, we must look back at the past to move forward with their legacy.

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Photonics Center at Boston University 
8 St. Mary's St, Boston, MA 02215

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8:00-9:00 A.M.
Networking Breakfast Event, Atrium

9:00-9:10 A.M.
Opening Remarks, PHO 206

9:10-9:55 A.M.
Leadership Summit, PHO 206

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10:00-10:50 A.M.
Opening Speaker Adam Ritchie, PHO 206

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11:00-12:00 P.M.
CSR Panel, PHO 210

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11:00-12:00 P.M.
DEI Panel, PHO 211

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11:00-12:00 P.M.
Individual Speaker Patrick Chaupham, PHO 201

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12:10-1:10 P.M.
Multigenerational Panel, PHO 210

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12:10-1:10 P.M.
In-house vs Agency Panel, PHO 211

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12:10-1:10 P.M.
Individual Speaker Margaret Wallace, PHO 201

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1:20-2:20 P.M.
Lunch, Photonics Colloquium

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2:30-3:30 P.M.
Media Relations Panel, PHO 210

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2:30-3:30 P.M.
Tech Panel, PHO 211

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2:30-3:30 P.M.
Resume & Interview Workshop, PHO 201

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3:40-4:40 P.M.
Closing Speaker Brandi Boatner, PHO 206

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4:50-5:00 P.M.
Closing Remarks, Photonics Colloquium

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5:00-6:00 P.M.
Career fair and headshots, Photonics Colloquium

Keynote Speakers

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Adam founded Adam Ritchie Brand Direction in 2007. His practice has attracted clients on four continents, spanning 20 categories from treadmill desks to snack foods. Adam’s work explores the inventive and transformative qualities of PR, and has yielded the world’s first album on a beer can, a team of pregnant comic book superheroes and influencer-inspired product lines. He advocates for public relations to drive product development, and seeks to reshape perceptions and the practice of PR from its past as an organization’s mouthpiece to its future as an organization’s creative engine.


Adam Ritchie, Principal, Adam Ritchie Brand Direction

Morning Keynote Speaker

Photonics 206, 10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.


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Brandi Boatner is an award-winning digital communication, public relations, social media professional and prolific public speaker based in New York City. Currently, she is a member of IBM’s newly formed corporate affairs function supporting influencer and

advocacy efforts across social platforms (includes enablement and activation) both internally and externally for social media and content experience.

Prior to this role, Brandi was on the internal corporate communications team supporting key initiatives for the Transformation and Culture function, including social media support for the SVP of Transformation and Culture and digital engagement for diversity

and inclusion channels while also leading initiatives that drove employee advocacy through social activation.

Boatner has been recognized and named by PR News as a Changemaker as one of the Top Women in PR and received Honorable Mention for PR Week’s Outstanding In-House PR Professional – an incredible industry honor (2021).

In late July 2020, Boatner was named by TopRank Marketing as one of the top 20 B2B

Influencer Marketing experts to follow. In May 2020, Brandi led social justice

communications for Emb(race) - IBM’s response in combating implicit bias,

discrimination and racial inequality.

Boatner is a two-time Hall of Famer having been inducted into the Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communications Hall of Fame known as the Den of Distinction, the youngest member ever inducted. She was also honored and inducted into the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Hall of Fame.


Brandi is a true advocate for diversity and inclusion serving as a member of IBM’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and also serves as the former chair and current chair of

external partnerships for IBM Black Network of New York business resource group.

Given her efforts around diversity in the public relations industry, she is one of more

than 40 PR leaders featured in the book Diverse Voices: Lessons in Leadership

published by the Public Relations Society of America Foundation.


Boatner is very active in the public relations industry where she holds several leadership

positions within the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on both the local and

national level. She is the Chair of the PRSA Tri-State District, and a member of the Executive Committee for the PRSA Westchester/Fairfield chapter. Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors for New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) serving as the Chief Programming Officer, a member of the University of South Carolina’ Dean’s Leadership Council, a member of the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of New York City and Hudson Valley and a member of the Advisory Board of Poster House, the first ever museum in the US dedicated exclusively to posters based in New

York City.


She speaks all around the US and the world on a variety of industry and marketplace

topics. She enjoys reading, music, traveling, shoe shopping, exploring Manhattan with

friends and spending time with family in her hometown of New Orleans.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @ThinkBluePR


Email: AND


Manager, Digital & Advocacy Communications, IBM

Evening Keynote Speaker

Photonics 206, 3:40- 4:40 p.m.


Breakout Speakers


11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Photonics 211

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Kelley Chunn, moderator

Kelley Chunn is the professor of practice in public relations at the Boston University College of Communication. She is the founder and principal of Kelley Chunn & Associates (KCA), an award-winning 30+year old state certified, collaborative PR & Marketing consultancy based in Boston. KCA provides culturally smart strategies to promote social change with a focus on equity, inclusion and civic engagement: Kelley's journey has taken her from Boston to New York, Nigeria, the Obama White House - and beyond.

Aisha Hudson

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Aisha Hudson is a vice president in FleishmanHillard’s Corporate Reputation practice in New York City. She joined FleishmanHillard in January 2022, bringing extensive experience creating and implementing earned-first media strategies as well as thought leadership, strategic planning, and multicultural communications campaigns for corporate, technology and consumer clients. In her role, she works as part of FH’s True MOSAIC team to provide counsel and bring fresh perspectives to clients’ DE&I communications and other strategies. 

Ms. Hudson joined from Weber Shandwick where she was responsible for integrated media strategy and media relations, executive visibility/thought leadership programs and project management as well as employee engagement for the agency and clients. She specialized in 

corporate and technology media strategy/media relations within various industries, executing campaigns across global, national and local markets, and helped lead the execution of media strategies for major brand-building events, such as the Super Bowl and CES. 

Her strategic thinking and relationships with key reporters and influencers were integral in helping clients such as IBM, Verizon and Booz Allen Hamilton, reinforce brand leadership and showcase their products and services as well as raise the visibility of both company leaders and subject matter experts. She earned her B.A. degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.

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Cat Colella-Graham

Cat is currently an independent consultant in Employee Experience and an Adjunct Professor at St. Francis College. Cat was the founder of Cheer Partners, the employee experience agency. Cat has deep leadership experience internal communications, executive thought leadership, change communications, talent, HR advisory and DE&I. Cheer Partners was acquired by Lippe Taylor Group March, 2021.


Cat secured the first and only trademark for Employee Experience.


She is also a member of Forbes Human Resources Council, a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Benedictine University L.E.A.D.S Board Advisor, and Ragan Advisory Board member. She is a volunteer TED translator and co-founded the Diversity Marketing Consortium.Cat is currently an independent consultant in Employee Experience and an Adjunct Professor at St. Francis College. Cat was the founder of Cheer Partners, the employee experience agency. Cat has deep leadership experience internal communications, executive thought leadership, change communications, talent, HR advisory and DE&I. Cheer Partners was acquired by Lippe Taylor Group March, 2021. Cat secured the first and only trademark for Employee Experience. She is also a member of Forbes Human Resources Council, a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Benedictine University L.E.A.D.S Board Advisor, and Ragan Advisory Board member. She is a volunteer TED translator and co-founded the Diversity Marketing Consortium.


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Dr. Cynthia Isaac founded and leads Syneos Health’s Corporate Communications Practice. The group includes experts in branding, narrative development, financial communications, social impact/DE&I, change management and employee engagement, corporate media relations, executive visibility and thought leadership


Her focus is helping firms tell authentic stories to inspire and engage key audiences, uniting them to achieve a shared purpose. She applies a strong understanding of the healthcare industry’s competitive landscape and increasingly challenging political and social dynamics to help healthcare companies position against peers, engage internal and external stakeholders, and provide a solid reputational foundation to buffer external headwinds.


Cynthia believes that creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals—they are both essential ingredients for long-term success. Passionate about social impact, she works with clients to provide direction on how to do right by their employees, their communities and the environment.


As clients have re-doubled their efforts to integrate diversity in clinical trials, provide greater access to healthcare for marginalized communities and bolster diversity in hiring, Cynthia developed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practice that sits within her group. Her team supports healthcare companies, from Fortune 100 to emerging biotechs advance DE&I as part of their organizational strategy.


12:10-1:10 p.m., Photonics 210


Van Hoosear

Todd is a 25-year veteran communicator with extensive industry experience both in public relations firms and in marketing roles at organizations. His award-winning work has included brand management, media and analyst relations, content marketing, and executive visibility programs. In addition to serving in senior positions on the client and agency side (most recently as Senior Vice President of Marketing Communications for the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce), Todd has created, grown, and sold his own business. He has served in leadership and volunteer roles in various industry organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America, the PR Club, and the Social Media Club. A Society for New Communications Research Fellow, Todd has studied the impact that new media and social networks have had on organizational behavior and structure. He serves as the Faculty Internship Coordinator for Public Relations undergraduate and graduate programs.

Todd received his BA and MA with a major in Communications from Michigan State University.

Justin Joseph


Veteran PR and marketing communications executive and professor with extensive media relations, crisis management, and spokesperson experience in the consumer technology, education, publishing and healthcare industries. Successful track-record of effective agency management, executive counsel, investor relations, and project management.

In addition to industry responsibilities, also serving as Associate Professor of Public Relations at Boston University (full-time faculty). Classes include undergraduate and graduate level Media Strategies and Management, Managing Corporate Issues and Crises, and Professional Presentations. Also serving as Faculty Director of PRLab @ Boston University, the nation's longest-running student-led public relations firm.

Recipient of the 2014 American Business Award for "Communications Professional of the Year" and "2017 Lyndon B. Johnson - Boston University Faculty Advisor of the Year."



Julia is a B2B tech account manager at Matter Communications, a brand elevation agency, where she has worked since 2020. Julia got her start in healthcare IT PR and now works with B2B tech clients across industries – from telecom to HR to infrastructure to customer experience. She graduated from Boston University COM in 2018.



Catie Valzania, a Boston University Terrier through and through, graduated in 2018 from the College of Communication. Now, Catie works as an Account Supervisor at 360PR+ and their adult beverage alcohol specialty agency, Three Cheers across a variety of consumer brands. Aside from her day to day client work, she works within the agency's mentor program and on agency marketing. It was at this very BU PRSSA PR Advanced conference back in 2018 that she discovered 360PR+, which resulted in her career starting and continued employment there. In her free time, you can likely find Catie with her head in a book or chasing after an iced latte. 


12:10-1:10 p.m., Photonics 211



As a Director in Allison + Partners’ (A+P) media department, Emma is focused on supporting agency-wide earned media and strategy as well as supporting healthcare clients to successfully deliver results that contribute to overall business goals and priorities.

Emma has significant media relations experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, health tech, consumer health, and nonprofit sectors. Emma also serves as a committee member for Allison + Partners’ Women’s Leadership Program. Prior to joining Allison + Partners, Emma served as Associate Manager of Corporate Communications at PureTech Health, a biopharmaceutical company where she was responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies to effectively communicate the company’s corporate story to a variety of external audiences. She has also worked for other large public relations agencies, including Weber Shandwick and WE Communications.

Emma received her BA with a major in Political Science and minor in German from the College of the Holy Cross.

Jane Carpenter


Jane leads global communications for Wayfair, a publicly-traded Fortune 500 e-commerce company with operations across North America and Europe. Wayfair employs approximately 18,000 people globally and serves millions of customers through its portfolio of retail brands including Wayfair, Joss & Main, AllModern, Birch Lane, Perigold and Wayfair Professional.  As the head of communications, Jane manages the company's corporate communications team and leads internal and external communications for the rapidly growing company. Over the past decade at Wayfair, she built and scaled the communications function and spearheaded many of the company's brand-building initiatives including establishing the company's social media presence across all brands, developing a robust influencer relations network and building Wayfair's corporate social responsibility platform and partnerships. She directed the company’s communications strategy leading up to and through its high profile IPO in October 2014. 


Prior to joining Wayfair, Jane led the consumer engagement practice at PAN Communications where she spearheaded business development, client relations and account strategy for national brands. She began her career in public relations at Schwartz Communications (MSLGroup) and Lois Paul & Partners.


Jane earned her M.S. in Public Relations from Boston University’s College of Communications. She holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Virginia. She serves as a board member for the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and is active in the PR Club of New England. Jane was recognized by PRWeek in 2016 as a member of the PRWeek Hall of Femme, honoring trailblazers in the communications industry. Her team has won dozens of industry awards and has been recognized by PRWeek as one of the best places to work in PR for in-house communications.



Abha Gallewale is a Senior Manager of Digital Demand Generation on the global marketing team at ASICS. Here, she oversees the team responsible for global social strategy and paid media across the brand's major categories (Performance Running, Sportstyle, and Tennis). She also helps to enable ASICS commerce via social media and integrating paid advertising strategies with organic initiatives. Part of her job includes working with each of ASICS' regional marketing teams to ensure they are optimizing social media while adapting the strategy based on what works best for their consumers. She has led the brand's global social strategy for global events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in which ASICS was a sponsor. 


Prior to ASICS, Abha served as a Senior Digital Associate at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations agency. Before that, she was an Account Executive at Digitas, where she served clients such as Bank of America and Harley-Davidson. She also interned at Digitas while at Tufts and got the internship thanks to this class! She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University in 2013, majoring in Quantitative Economics and minoring in Communication/Media Studies and Entrepreneurship. 

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